Looks like the rumors were true: Valve’s Steam digital delivery service is breaking out of being exclusive to games, and will soon be selling apps on the PC and Mac as well. That makes Steam a head-to-head competitor with Apple’s Mac App Store.
Valve will soon be expanding the scope of software on Steam beyond games to app types ranging from “creativity to productivity” including accounting, animation & modeling, utilities, software training, video production, web production, design & illustration and many more besides.
The roll out will happen starting September 5th, with app developers being encouraged to submit their app ideas now through Steam Greenlight.
An interesting battle may be brewing here. Sure, the Mac App Store is built into OS X Mountain Lion, but thanks to prohibitive sandboxing requirements, many app developers are being forced to leave the portal and look for alternative distrubution methods instead. Now that Steam is getting into apps, that makes them an attractive choice: Steam has a massive, dedicated user base, years of expertise in digital delivery and none of the onerous terms and conditions that go hand-in-hand with going to bed with Apple. Even better? Steam apps can be sold and purchased on both Windows PCs and Macs, with Linux machines coming soon.
I can’t wait to see how this shakes out. If Steam proves to be a strong competitor to the Mac App Store, maybe Apple will loosen some of their more objectionable conditions and offer a broader variety of apps through their own portal.